Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Want to tackle violent crime in Mexico? Then start in Veracruz state

Posted by DD republished from Miami Herald

Relatives of slain Rev. Jose Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz grieve as his casket is lowered into the floor inside Our Lady of Asuncion Church in Mexico’s troubled Veracruz state. Marco Ugarte Associated Press

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DD:  This is a companion piece written in conjunction to the story posted  "How a small clog in Mexico's Criminal Econmy Grew into a Hotbed of Terror".  The author, Mark L. Schneider, is a senior adviser to the International Crisis Group, the conflict prevention organization, which was mentioned several times and was a major source in the Huffington Post "Hotbed of Terror" story.  He is also a former Director of the US Peace Corps. 
Mark L Schneider:
Decades ago, while training for U.S. Peace Corps service in El Salvador, I traveled into the rain forest of the state of Veracruz to the tiny village of Zongolica. Most of the men and all of the women and children spoke only Nahuatl, survived on subsistence farming and faithfully maintained their culture despite four centuries of Spanish influence. There was little crime, much less violence, in the state — and a strong sense of community, particularly in Zongolica, where adobe bricks were made cooperatively for each other’s homes.

Today, Veracruz is a battleground where five major cartels and multiple smaller criminal gangs kill for control over lucrative cocaine drug routes, oil pipelines and human trafficking networks — with the Zetas and the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación emerging as the most dangerous and successful organizations. The state apparatus, far from preserving law and order, has been warped to protect criminal interests. Veracruz state, rich in natural resources, could be an economic powerhouse but is instead near bankruptcy. In 2016, homicides here increased by 123 percent — the second highest in the country.

President Donald Trump reportedly proposed sending over the U.S. military to take care of “bad hombres” south of the border, according to a leaked excerpt of his recent telephone conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Trump’s unilateral offer — coming alongside demands that Mexico pay for a border wall to stop illegal migration, a wave of deportations, and a threat to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement—has revived memories of U.S. gunboat diplomacy and prompted “Gringo go home” sentiments south of the border. (DD. Early the next morning after Trumps victory I walked into an Oxxo near my house and the first words I heard after the election were "Gringo go home")  In any case, most knowledgeable observers agree that a military response to the cartels will backfire.

There is a better way to help fix rampant crime and terror in Mexico, starting with Veracruz. The state’s new governor, Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, has promised to clean house and prosecute those responsible for criminal atrocities. He will need serious national and international support to deliver.

Yunes’ election in 2016 marked the end of 80 years of state rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). His predecessor, Javier Duarte Ochoa, fled amid charges against his administration of embezzling around $650 million and of having links to the cartels. Yunes, of the National Action Party (PAN), may have the political will to root out crime and corruption, but he has few state or federal resources to address the crisis.

Since the transition, more than 100 mass graves have been discovered in one site alone, and human rights groups and the new Veracruz Truth Commission allege state complicity in the disappearances of 5,000 individuals, many times the official government count. A new report by International Crisis Group, based on interviews with families of the victims and human rights groups, estimated that the total number of disappearances could be as high as 20,000.

Veracruz reflects the nationwide epidemic of violence and corruption weighing down Peña Nieto’s administration.

The country’s much-heralded transition to a more open democracy at the end of the 1990’s was undermined by the establishment of drug trafficking routes from the Andes converging in Mexico as the last stop before the U.S. market. Mexico’s civilian police were no match for the firepower of the cartels, who were happy to pay whatever it cost to smuggle weapons from the United States.

The country’s “war on drugs” has resulted in an explosion of violence, as the cartels fought back against Mexican authorities and against each other, at times with the complicity of rogue security forces. There have been at least 65,000 victims since 2006, with no end in sight.

The United States should recognize that its own economic and security interests would be well served by cooperation, not confrontation, with Mexico to tackle organized crime and corruption.

A more effective response in Veracruz, and the rest of Mexico, depends on providing carefully vetted federal technical support and redirecting U.S. counter-drug aid to strengthen local law enforcement, the state attorney’s office, and civil society organizations like the Truth Commission. They can start by investigating the thousands of disappearances and bringing those responsible to justice.


  1. Whats happening in Guerrero is a disgrace to humanity. Probably the most lawless place on earth, for a civilized country. When EPN looks at the news about Guerrero what the hell is he thinking?

    1. Veracruz is just as bad as Guerrero, a narco state that is in need of martial law, and soliders on every street corner until the Government can regain control.

    2. Arriba la revolucion compa

  2. There will be no justice for the survivors of the thousands of murders. The impunity is set for good. The politicos are intimidated into acquiescing to the murderous bastards. If ever the case could be made for "nation building" as US foreign policy, this would be it. Nation building, to be inclusive of decisive strategic military intervention and tons of military and economic assistance. Mexico deserves our best efforts. If we can do it in the fucked up Mideast and Balkans, we can goddammit help our Mexican brothers and sisters, they are suffering. They need our help and deserve it more than the people in the Middle East do, those fuckers hate us and we waste all kinds of money on them, and we let them into our country by the tens of thousands. Please God shine your mercy on Mexico. In Jesus' name.

  3. First would like to applaud the efforts of Miguel Angel Yunes for his dedication and commitment to eradicate and indict all those criminal elements responsible for its dire state.
    Nevertheless he must take notice of such aggressive stance that his life is at risk.
    We are all aware of political assassinations in Mexico is frequently used.
    Where government is the hub of corruption and criminal activities.
    As for American cooperation?
    We all seen its a disastrous costly burden.
    Where Mexican government officials are the root of the problem. As well as American counterparts. Waste of taxpayers money.
    The only way to find resolution to this matter would be to remove and replace current government. Moreover implement the death penalty. And change the penal system to favor victims and not the pockets of government officials.

    1. Please explain how to “remove and replace current government“???
      I assume they will not remove and replace themselves with someone else. Hence to me it sounds like you are trying to intice a revolution and that is illegal! AND if there is anything that governments tend to deal very seriously with it is revolutionaries!

    2. Unfortunately this current government is not working. People continue to suffer and to fend for themselves.
      Revolution is by far the only remedy since these politicians won't remove themselves. Nor will they themselves take trust test like municipal officials.
      Where impunity applies to these corrupt officials.
      Unfortunately it's a bad scenario for the many of casualties. But reality is often difficult to comprehend and accept.
      But I do not see any change positively In near future for Mexico . But the same political system which have been and contribute to this dire situation Mexico is in today.
      An inept government where its political power beniefits their pockets. Where citizens fear of retribution from within and government officials.
      That's not governing . Just abusive and neglectful as always to its citizens.
      A country of such rich resources and poverty prevails amongst the majority of its people.
      Love to see Mexico prosper. Where they are self sufficient and non- reliance from vultures .
      Stipulations of such is Illegal? Suggest you phrase such to the Mexican government officials!

  4. I go to veracruz every year in bad places such as boca del rio, tierra blanca and tres long as u don't travel at night u should be fine.

    1. So you are saying: all those killed/disappeared have themselves to blame by either being 'involved' or not having taken due care (like e.g. driving without a seat belt), right???

      Seems like you are a mouthpiece of EPN!

    2. Unfortunately it's a shame when you impose your own curfew for safety's sake.

  5. Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares was PRI before he switched parties.

  6. Whichever place CJNG is present there is lot of kidnappings, extrotions, rapes, thefts and killings. CJNG is a gang of lowlife scumbags. Mencho is a methhead psycopath bastard. Sinaloa cartel only deal in drugs and never trouble the innocent people.

  7. No more trips to Tecolutla. Honestly, if the US government should be helping ANY country, it's Mexico. We buy all the drugs that have made Mexico a hell, and previous governments have been complicit in the narco trade, viz Mena Arkansas airstrip 20 years ago to fast and furious. Not to mention the crime of ignoring what is happening. Many illegal immigrants are refugees from the (yes, I'll say it) Civil War in Mexico.
    Maybe consider the President Trump offer....


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